Friday, August 23, 2013

Measuring the Days in Butterflies

Like Rachel Carson, I am afraid that one season I will find myself in the midst of a silent spring..or a silent summer, and so each winged creature is noted with pleasure..An imperfect and unfinished season of butterfly observations is presented here.. Last year's irruption of Painted Ladies has not reoccured....

Cabbage Whites have been plentiful, and whilst I used to regard them with disdain, their ethereal color and random playfullness has endeared them to me..We might as well appreciate what remains..

On Dittany (False Oregano) Origanum dictamnus, a native plant volunteer

Pieris rapae on Cone Flower (Echinacea purpaea), native cultivar

Skippers (Hesperiidae) have also been well represented and challenging to identify..If you think I have goofed, please let me know..In order of appearence..

Dreamy Duskywing, (Erynnis icelus) an early spring woodland skipper

Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan) in a dream world of Catchfly (Silene armeria), non-native

This may be a Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
On Ox-Eye Daisy (leucanthemum vulgare), non-native

Clear-Wing and Zabulon Skippers on Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) non-native.

Horace's Duskywing, (Erynnis horatius) another Open-Wing Skipper.

Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on Bull Thistle
(cirisium vulgarum)

 Black Swallowtails arrived early in my garden  and availed themselves of the Bronze Fennel, (Foeniculum vulgare 'purpureum') a larval host, along with other members of the family Umbelliferae, such as parsely or carrots..... At one point there were 20 Black Swallowtail Cats on three fennel plants...Black Swallowtail Caterpillars molt and appear in different "instars". They disappear in their final instar.  I used to think that the birds had eaten them..(and maybe some are eaten) but then I learned that they wander off a long way to pupate..and no, I have never seen a pupa..even tho'I have looked..I need a tiny web cam..or Sherlock Holmes..

A Black Swallowtail egg.. I tried to catch every stage, 
but they were too sly for me.

Third Instar, here now, missed the early rush..
Fennel is setting seed.

Fourth Instar on Parsley, with a final instar, in hiding
..earlier in season.
Final Instar, one of twenty,
ready for disappearing act.

What the fuss was all about..(Papilio polyxenes)
And a close relative, Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
on Zinnia elegans. Zinnas are native to Mexico.

Pretty as a picture
on Bee Balm (Monarda), native cultivar

On top of the world!
An American Painted Lady (two large, submarginal eyespots)
(Vanessa virginiensis), subgenus Cynthia..ha, ha..that's me!

All that flies is not butter!

My favorite garden visitor so far this year!
 Hummingbird Clear Wing Moth
(Hemaris thysbe)

The Red-Spotted Purples is a forest butterfly, also found in wooded suburban areas..hence in my yard... They prefer to  feed on tree sap, fermenting fruit or dung..and only occasionally feed from flower nectar. That explains why I have never seen one on a flower. Some folks put out fruit feeders for these pretties..maybe next year...
Limentis arthemis

See my red spots?

A tattered Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
on Lance Leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) Native.

                                                             Finally, some tiny beauties
Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas), after  a rain.

Little Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) on Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), native.

I have seen only one the New York Botanical Garden native plant installation..that despite having several milkweed species in my garden..which usually sport monarch caterpillars...Other butterflies seen (and identified) but not recorded here..Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) and Alfalfa Butterfly (Colias eurytheme)

Now I'll just hang out and see what else flies by

I have measured my life out in coffee spoons~ T.S. Elliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock  ..but butterflies are a better measure!


  1. Oh, my goodness, the Little Copper. Wow. A delight. Unfortunately, I can't report a monarch sighting, either. :(

    1. Worrisome, isn't it? One by one the creatures are succumbing.. Protect what we can! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Cindy, I just found your wonderful blog through comments you left on my own blog Saratoga Woods and Waterways back in early August. Sorry I missed a chance to respond back then, but I'm awfully glad you left your name that served as a link to your own beautiful and informative blog. I'm amazed at how you have captured so many elusive butterflies, since they rarely hold still long enough for me to get such good photos of them. I'm signing up to be a follower, so I never miss your posts again.

    1. Thanks for following..I spend a lot of time chasing butterflies ;-)I love your blog and the beautiful Adirondacks!

  3. What a great way to measure the days, Cindy! And your photos are beautiful. Love the Clearwing Moth and the Praying Mantis. For the life of me I cannot get a decent photo of the Eastern Tailed Blue - congratulations :-)

    I've only seen a couple monarchs. As much as I love Barbara Kingsolver wasn't a big fan of "Flight Behavior" but I must say the parallels to real life are disturbing...

    Thanks for sharing this bounty of butterflies (and other cool critters).

    1. Thanks for your kind words, they are appreciated! I love the tiny little blues! I've now seen three more Monarchs, tho' not in my garden..I do like Barabara Kingsolver, but have not read "Flight Behavior"..I shall put it on my "to read" list..Thank you!

  4. Those Hummingbird moths used to fool me when I was a kid and I'd be disappointed because they weren't real hummingbirds.Now I'm just ass amazed by them as I am by the hummingbird which I see much more often. Great collection of photos by the way!

    1. Thanks Larry..those moths give me a thrill too!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Nice to see you here...We are not far apart..

  6. All I can say is WOWEE! Simply beautiful collection of beautiful nature. Some new-to-me. Thanks for taking us along

    1. Thanks Loret..and almost all were taken in my *Wildlife* Garden..It is so nice to have a like-minded friend!